Friday, April 3, 2009

I need a new blogging platform

I notice I am not updating my technical blog because most of the things I want to write about need converting formulae (from Latex) to images. Yes I could use javascript to convert at display time but what I really want is a blog engine that would recognize a latex entry and automatically do the conversions before the text leaves the server. I hate WordPress (and PHP) with a passion so that isn't an option.

I have my nose well to the grindstone and have practically zero free time till September end. Then I'll probably whip out a tiny Django based blog engine with exactly the features I want and then it's good bye blogger.


Shishir said...

This comment is regarding a post on your old blog, dated January 20 2005 and titled "Mathematics An Epiphany". You have disabled comments on that blog and hence I am writing here.
It is around 4 years since you first saw the light and decided to walk the path. In your own words you said,

"We had a long discussion over lunch on what we had perceived and distilled it down to these basic points.
the combination of deep mathematical skill and expert level programming ability would be the ultimate "level up"
the first step in mastering math is be to learn to read the notation. just like learning the syntax of a new programming language
the second is to grasp the reality expressed by the notation at a gut level , like understanding the paradigm and patterns lying underneath a programming language , like ,say ,beginning to grok "oo"
the third is to use that understanding to create new possibilities
the fourth is to use a programming language to embody and refine those possibilities , thus creating programs that do what has never been done before.

I am curious to know how the journey has been, how far and wide you have travelled and what is it that lies in front of you now. It would be a very kind gesture if you could also mention the names of the various books that have been your companion in what I am sure must have been an exciting journey.
I would also like to see how you look like (if there is a picture anywhere on the web), because ever since I stumbled on your blog a few weeks ago and have been reading your posts (starting with the very old ones), I have formed an image of you in my mind - You look like the character "Gandalf" from the movie "The Lord of the rings" :-).
Shishir Hans

Ravi said...

Thanks for the kind words, but they are way off base I assure you!

I am in NO way any kind of programming wizard. I am just starting to reach the farthest edges of mediocrity! getting to be an *apprentice* "wizard" should take another five years or so minimum, but hey I am enjoying the journey!

Speaking of which, the journey has been in fits and starts, often interrupted by projects or stints at MegaCorp, but great fun all the same.

As for maths, I generally work off the MIT OCW course. So far I've finished a dozen or so *undergraduate* courses in Mathematics, Calculus, 1 2,3 Linear Algebra, Probability,Information Theory, Geometry and analysis. (The books I pick up from each course's syllabus on MIT OCW )

I am beginning some Graduate Maths courses. These are TOUGH and progress is very slow, but very enjoyable.

rane said...

cool, i themed the django basic blog into a wordpress like thing. (will be glad to share), currently writing a script to convert wordpress themes to my template format.
I'm working on the formulae thing using flash, so that you write in latex and the flash widget can do the rendering. Currently figuring out the latex parser, let me know if you have any ideas or pointers.

Ravi said...

Thanks for the offer!
My friend Manoj who is quite the Django whiz has promised to whip up a latex friendly blogging server component. When he starts working on this maybe you guys can collaborate.
I have my plate full with other work till September end! :-|

Anonymous said...

Gurudev (Thats how v address u ever since v started reading ur blog - Thanks to Shishir for the link),

"I am in NO way any kind of programming wizard. I am just starting to reach the farthest edges of mediocrity! "

I am just trying to understand this statement :-). A mediocre like me cannot even understand the extent and nature of knowledge that u possess now. Let me ask u a dumb question which might help me understand. With the knowledge that u have gained so far can u write something like This.
I am not saying that u would ever do something so bad as u sound to be a nice person, but simply asking whether u can, if u want, write something like this ? Have u reached that level ?

I have been working in a software company for the last 8 months after I passed out from college in 2008 (B.Sc Comp Sci). I hope to become a good programmer like u some day. Then I'll come here and write more intelligent comments :-)...till then (during my learning phase), let me be anonymous and hope u don't scold me for that.
Thanks in advance, Gurudev.
- ur Ekalavya

Ravi said...

Dear Ekelavya,
remember what happened to the mythical ekalavya (;-))

I can't write Conflicker (or any windows virus for that matter ) because (a) that area (operating Systems, networks and vulnerabilites therof) is not something I've focussed on, (b) I use linux on my laptop. I only have a conceptual idea of how it works.

But all is not lost. I *can* write something like this (and many variants therof) or this or this.

What I meant by "I am just starting to reach the farthest edges of mediocrity! " was a little subtle. I should have been clearer. What I meant to communicate was that I think I can now see the end of mediocrity and move on to some shores of minimal expertise (the peaks are still distant but the journey is fun :-)).

Hope that clarified things!

Anonymous said...

Thank u.
The most important point that i take away is that no one knows everything and that u need focus area. when v started our training i was confused as there are so many technologies and i didn't know when i will finish mastering all of them. Right now i am working on visual basic and oracle.
One more thing - after u leave mediocrity and land on the shores please draw a route map so that i can follow u :-) and i hope u won't ask for my right thumb (or may be my fingers so that i cannot use a keyboard). till then i'll make ur statue and practice on my own.

Ravi said...

Dear Ekalavya,
If you must have a guru, (and are planning to buidl a statue) follow your mythical counter part and select the **best** warrior in the world as your guru. May I suggest (someone like) Peter Norvig, Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, John Carmack .... The list is endless.

I am a fellow student not your "guru". I am NOT trying to be modest here just stating teh facts.

Follow the real master, not the (slightly) senior student!

I leave you with a quote from John Carmack

"In the information age, the barriers [to entry into programming] just aren't there. The barriers are self imposed. If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don't need millions of dollars of capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on, and the dedication to go through with it."